Waterside classics double

Madama Butterfly - Cio Cio San played by Elena Dee

The award-winning producer Ellen Kent returns after her recent critically-acclaimed tours of Nabucco, Aida and La Boheme, to Aylesbury Waterside Theatre from Friday 4th – Saturday 5th May with one of the world’s most popular operas Puccini’s Madama Butterfly, and the love story that gripped Paris, Verdi’s La Traviata.

It stars celebrated soprano Maria HeeJung Kim from the Korean National Opera, and the international soprano Alyona Kistenyova with Vasyl Vasylenko – artistic director and conductor for the National President’s Orchestra of Ukraine.

Madama Butterfly is Puccini’s popular tale on which the hit West End musical Miss Saigon is based. One of the world’s most popular operas, Puccini’s Madama Butterfly tells the heartbreaking story of a beautiful young Japanese girl who falls in love with an American naval lieutenant – with dramatic results. Highlights include the melodic Humming Chorus, the moving aria One Fine Day and the unforgettable Love Duet.

With exquisite sets including a spectacular Japanese garden, exotic costumes including antique wedding kimonos from Japan, and with hand-picked soloists directed to create a visually beautiful and moving production, Madama Butterfly is not to be missed.

La Traviata is Verdi’s outstanding interpretation of one of the most popular love stories of the 19th century, La Dame aux Camelias by Alexander Dumas. This is a tragic tale of searing passion and memorable music. Dumas made no secret of the fact that his book and play were autobiographically based on his own affair with Marie Duplessis, who died in 1847 of tuberculosis at the age of 23.  Kent was fascinated by the book which she read while rehearsing Traviata in the Ukraine in 2011.

This operatic version of La Dame Aux Camelias tells the romantic story about the love and life of the courtesan, Violetta. Based on a true story, it tells of the passionate consumptive Violetta and her doomed love for the aristocratic Alfredo. There are many echoes of Verdi’s own life in Traviata and he threw himself into the music. This was also Verdi’s venture into operatic realism as was Rigoletto, rejecting distant historical settings. The highlights include the Brindisi, the best known drinking song in opera, the duet Un Di Felice and the haunting aria Addio Del Passato.

The clarity of the plot seems matched by a single moral idea – that enduring love can and does survive despite all efforts to corrupt it. If in Puccini’s Madama Butterfly, it is Pinkerton’s callous abandonment of Butterfly on which the tragedy hinges, in Traviata it is Alfredo’s dogged determination to stand by his fallen woman, against all odds, which brings out a sense of redemption. Brilliantly, only in death, are Violetta’s bourgeois values relinquished, and she is redeemed, ultimately, not as a fallen woman, but a risen one.

The operas will be conducted by Vasyl Vasylenko, who is the artistic director and conductor at the National President’s Orchestra of Ukraine, Kiev, and the guest conductor and artistic director of the National Opera of Moldova, Nicolae Dohotaru, with 30 members of the National Ukrainian Orchestra.

Pictured: Madama Butterfly – Cio Cio San played by Elena Dee

How to book: Visit the venue Box Office, call 0844 871 7607 (bkg fee. Calls cost 7p per min plus your phone company’s access charge) or visit (bkg fee).

April 9, 2018